State Roundup

Bedford Township
Shop class makes space station parts for NASA

BEDFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Members of a southeastern Michigan shop class are making parts for the International Space Station under a NASA program.

About 10 students from a machining program at Bedford High School are building lockers where astronauts will keep their experiments aboard the space station.

Paul Cook, a manufacturing instructor at the school, said he thought it was a prank when NASA first called him about the program.

“This is a great opportunity for the kids,” Cook told the Monroe News. “Imagine being a student and having on your resume that you built a part for the International Space Station.”

The students are scheduled to finish one locker by the end of the school year and make multiple parts over the next five years.

Bedford High is one of 77 schools nationwide that are participating in the program. It’s called High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware, or NASA HUNCH for short. The school is in Monroe County’s Bedford Township, about 45 miles south-southeast of Detroit.

“It’s the perfect opportunity for them to engage in real-world projects working with the top (machinists) in their field,” said Bedford schools Superintendent Mark Kleinhans. “To have our students engaged with these folks is outstanding.”

To participate in the NASA program, a school must have the right equipment and a teacher qualified to use it, said Stacy Hale, HUNCH program manager.

“Not only did (Bedford) have a qualified instructor, but one who was willing to go above and beyond what was required of him,” he said. “It takes time and energy to give students what they need to succeed.”

Students will begin work within a few weeks after a contract is signed with NASA. A machinist from the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland will check with students every two weeks to help with the project and make sure they have all the parts they need.

The earliest the experiment lockers will be installed in the space station is a little more than a year away, Hale said. Students will make other hardware, but the program hasn’t yet decided what else it will build.

Family upset after DNR officer fatally shoots pet pig

ISHPEMING TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A family in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is upset after a state Department of Natural Resources officer fatally shot their pet potbelly pig while it was on the loose.

Brandy Savelle and Tony Gervasi said they got the pig named Caesar about two years ago and had been training the animal to be outside. Last week, they posted on Facebook that the pig was missing and followed his tracks to where the animal had been shot.

“When I followed the prints ... it was like a puddle of blood, at first I didn’t believe it,” Savelle said. “I just started screaming for him.”

The shooting, which happened on state land, was permitted because the animals can carry disease and damage property, WLUC-TV reported. The officer believed it was a feral pig, since it had no identifying marks to distinguish him as a pet, the DNR said.

“I want to make it very clear that it’s never, ever, ever the department’s position that we want to shoot people’s pets,” said Peter Wright, a law supervisor for the DNR. “If he had any inkling it was a pet he absolutely wouldn’t have shot it. But at that point he didn’t know that and he was just doing his job.”

Savelle said she doesn’t want the DNR to end up shooting a pet pig again.

“If it was that big of a mistake then we would like to see better training,” Savelle said. “Let’s learn to identify not just pigs, but all pets.”

Grand Rapids
Dog wandered the area for months before capture

NEWPORT, Mich. (AP) — Shaggy the dog, who wandered the Grand Rapids area for months before his capture, is making strides at an animal rescue and rehab facility.

The Grand Rapids Press reports Shaggy, an 18-month-old Newfoundland mix, is among 13 other undomesticated dogs being taught to trust people at The Devoted Barn about 30 miles south of Detroit. The facility’s owner, Melissa Borden, says Shaggy is a “gentle giant” who “really wants attention.”

Shaggy was caught by Borden in March. Kent County animal control officers had taken extraordinary steps to try capturing Shaggy, including getting a net-shooting device. He was called Shaggy due to his rough appearance,

When Shaggy went to the shelter, he weighed 118 pounds, roughly 30 to 40 pounds underweight. But he was in good health.

Borden said Shaggy shows characteristics common in strays such as a fear of people and a reluctance to play. She said he’s making progress.

“It didn’t take too long for him to come out of his shell and realize we have good things for him, which is water and treats,” Borden said.

Dogs at the facility have limited contact with outsiders to help build the dogs’ trust in people. They’re hand-fed human food before they make the switch to dog food, which they’re not used to eating.

New dogs are petted 10 to 15 seconds at a time to become used to human touch. Once dogs are comfortable, Borden and volunteers will go into their kennels and snuggle with them. Borden fed Shaggy peanut butter with her fingers as she lay with her head on him.

“We do a lot of this — a lot of just laying here. He makes a great pillow,” Borden said. “Right now, we’re just going at his pace. We’re not doing anything he can’t handle.”